Trojans hoping to build on back-to-back league titles with strong start to 2021 fall boys water polo season

he Castle Park Trojans are in search of their third consecutive league boys water polo championship this year. Photo by Phillip Brents

The Castle Park High School boys water polo team will be out to win their third consecutive league championship after emerging on top of the Metro-South Bay League standings in 2019 and the Metro-Pacific League standings during the 2021 spring season.

Returners include 2021 Metro-Pacific League player of the year Ryland Humphrey, first team all-league pick Emilio Lugo and second-team all-league selections Kai MacFarland and Hector Martinez. All are seniors, as is returning goalie Ivan Galindo.

Sophomore Cannon Humphrey is the team’s impact newcomer.

The Trojans qualified as the No. 12 seed for the spring’s Division III playoff field, ending a 6-6 run with a first-round loss to fifth-seeded West Hills.

“We’re trying to make another run at taking the league banner and qualify for CIF and make it past the first round to a quarterfinal or even semifinal round,” CPHS coach Mark Esquivel said.

Castle Park senior Ryland Humphrey (top) prepares to launch the ball past High Tech High San Diego goalie Oliver Ridge and defender Logan Strocco in Tuesday’s game. Photos by Phillip Brents

This season has gotten off to a slow start for the Trojans due to the closure of the Loma Verde pool , the team’s home venue, for renovations over the next two years.

In the meantime, Castle Park will utilize the Parkway pool for home games.

The Trojans were able to get in the water for a pair of scrimmages — defeating Mount Miguel, 17-3, on Aug. 25 and High Tech High San Diego, 24-16, on Aug. 31.

Castle Park defeated Olympian, 21-5, in a non-league game on Sept. 8 to face off regular season play. The Trojans downed host Monte Vista, 21-11, in another non-league game last Friday.

Castle Park turned back an early challenge from HTH San Diego to win 21-15 on Tuesday at the Parkway pool, then added a 19-12 win over Mira Mesa on Wednesday for a 4-0 start to the new season.

Freshman Canon Humphrey (5) has been the Trojans’ impact newcomer, especially on defense. Photo by Phillip Brents

Humphrey led by example in Tuesday’s game both offensively and defensively. He finished the game with eight goals. Younger brother Canon Humphrey chipped in with two goals while playing more of a defensive role on the team.

Martinez scored five goals while Lugo scored four goals. Senior Kai-dylan Pascual had two goals to round out team scoring while Galindo blocked two penalty shots.

The Trojans recovered from a 4-3 first quarter deficit on the strength of five unanswered goals — two each from Pascual and Martinez — to start the second quarter. Castle Park led 13-10 at halftime.

The Trojans feature 10 seniors on this year’s team.

Castle Park senior goalie Ivan Galindo has stood his ground in the cage so far to start the 2021 fall season. Photos by Phillip Brents

“We came together all through our sophomore year, that’s when we joined the team,” Ryland Humphrey said. “We’ve all got great chemistry. We have got a really good team bond. We want to go three times as league champions, back-to-back-to-back.”

Castle Park faces off South Bay League play Sept. 29 at the Parkway pool against the Montgomery Aztecs.

Hector Martinez (7) and Emilio Lugo (14) both earned all-league honors for Castle Park duiing the 2021 spring season. Photos by Phillip Brents

Metro Conference Boys Water Polo Scoreboard


Wednesday, Sept. 8
Castle Park 21, Olympian 5

Friday, Sept. 10
Castle Park 21, Monte Vista 11

Tuesday, Sept. 14
Castle Park 21, High Tech High San Diego 15

Wednesday, Sept. 15
Castle Park 19, Mira Mesa 12


Trojans hoping to build on back-to-back league titles with strong start to 2021 fall boys water polo season